Pope Benedict VII
Date of birth unknown; d. c. October, 983. Acting
under the influence of Sicco (see Benedict VI), the Roman clergy and
people elected to succeed Benedict VI another Benedict, Bishop of
Sutri, a Roman and the son of David (October, 974). His authority was
opposed by Boniface VII, and, though the antipope himself was forced
to fly, his party followed fiercely in his footsteps and compelled
Benedict to call upon Otho II for help. Firmly established on his
throne by the emperor, he showed himself both desirous of checking
the tide of simony which was rising high in the Church, and of
advancing the cause of monasticism, which then meant that of
civilization. In response to a request of the people of Carthage "to
help the wretched province of Africa", he consecrated the priest
James, who had been sent to him for the purpose (see the letter of
the papal legate, the Abbot Leo, to the Kings Hugh Capet and Robert).
Though he did not die till about October, 983, our knowledge of his
undertakings is not in proportion to the length of his pontificate.
The most important source for the
history of the first nine popes who bore the name of Benedict is the
biographies in the Liber Pontificalis, of which the most useful
edition is that of Duchesne, Le Liber Pontificalis (Paris, 1886-92),
and the latest that of Mommsen, Gesta Pontif. Roman. (to the end of
the reign of Constantine only, Berlin, 1898). Jaffé, Regesta
Pont. Rom. (2d ed., Leipzig, 1885), gives a summary of the letters of
each pope and tells where they may be read at length. Modern accounts
of these popes will be found in any large Church history, or history
of the City of Rome. The fullest account in English of most of them
is to be read in Mann, Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages
(London, 1902, passim).
Horace K. Mann.